It is sad how a lot of meat eaters turn up their noses at vegetarian dishes. While there are some vegetables that are considered exotic, such as mushrooms or broccoli, and are relished with great pleasure, there are also some simple local ingredients that are stunners in their own right. Take, for example, the humble beetroot. It is dark and dirty on the outside but plump and vibrant once you peel it, and apart from being very tasty when cooked right, it is incredibly healthy. Next time you dismiss the vegetarian section in your menu, try and keep an eye out for some of these dishes – they will make you appreciate beetroot like you have not before.
Beetroot tikki at Made in Punjab – Aloo tikkis are done to death. While they are still amazingly tasty, they are overdone. Made in Punjab, which is a fabulous restaurant for Punjabi and North Indian fare, makes a beautifully beetroot-based tikki that is a crisp patty made with grated beetroot, stuffed with cottage cheese, processed cheese and some mango chutney, and then deep-fried.
Beetroot carpaccio at Serafina – Traditionally, carpaccio is only thinly sliced meat. It is an absolute delight to devour and next to impossible to substitute the meat to give you the same flavours. Serafina, however, does a fabulous job of not substituting per say but giving vegetarians their own unique version of the dish with thinly sliced beetroot. The beetroot is also roasted, marinated with roast onion, caramelised walnuts and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. It is a great salad and works well as an appetiser before your main meal.
Beetroot risotto at Café Zoe – Beetroot works well in Indian food but, surprisingly, works extremely well with Italian risottos. Most risottos in the city are heavily mushroom-based or then you have them with chicken or seafood. Café Zoe serves one of their risottos (there are a couple on the menu) with beetroot, and not only is it delicious topped with shredded cheese, but it looks great.
Beetroot burger at Eddies Bistro – This trendy Bandra café is universally loved and has everything on their menu from pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and all sorts of mains. One of the coolest dishes on their menu, however, is their beetroot burger. Not always the popular choice with a menu full of meaty options, but this pink patty burger is one of the best ways to incorporate boring beetroot into a fun dish.
Beetroot salad at Fat Man’s Café – Not every salad needs to have lettuce leaves nor does it need to be green. Some of the tasty ones are pinkish red in colour! Fat Man’s Café serves up an interesting roasted beetroot salad with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cranberries and a lemon dressing. Usually a beetroot salad is paired with nuts or cheese, but this is an interesting mix and quite tasty.
Beetroot cake with Orange and Ginger Ice Cream at The Tasting Room – One thinks of beetroot in Indian cuisine or a Mediterranean salad but never in a dessert. The Tasting Room does a very good one with their beetroot-based ruby cake served with their signature Orange and Ginger Ice Cream. All very different flavours but blend together perfectly. Sadly, it gets overshadowed by popular choices such as tiramisu or cheesecake.
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Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.